Visual Connections Australia

MCEC Confident as 2022 and PacPrint Approach


The Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre held its first ‘Centrestage Update’ customer briefing via Zoom last week, saying the lifting of restrictions around Australia and in particular in the southern capital, point to a bright outlook for 2022.

The news was overwhelmingly good for PacPrint, with all signs pointing to the MCEC holding numerous events well before Christmas and expecting a big lift in both the number of events, and the venue’s capacity limits, from March and April next year.

MCEC Chief Executive, Peter King, was joined by COO Helen Fairclough, Chief Communications Officer Melissa Sweetland and Senior Manager for Security & Safety Darren Horne – probably the meeting’s most anticipated speaker – to bring event organisers up to date with the latest developments, as well as the outlook from government and health authorities.

While the pandemic had created an undeniably difficult landscape for the venue, King said his team had used the time wisely, adding expertise and capabilities, expanding and revising its management structure, and investing in new digital tools and technologies to make it even more agile and customer-focused.

There is no question, he said, that venues are on the way back to full capacity, with the MCEC positioned more strongly than most due to positive discussions with Government which could see it designated a ‘venue of significance’ – leading to an expedited easing of restrictions. An announcement on that is expected soon.

Jenny Harris, Events Manager for Visual Connections, the event organisers for PacPrint, Visual Impact and the Label & Packaging Expo, says the outlook should give confidence to everyone making plans to travel to Melbourne for the shows.

“The indications from government are very clear that we will be moving to lift a whole suite of restrictions into 2022 as we work towards living safely with COVID-19,” she said following the meeting.

“Already, the MCEC is hosting successful events, and we would expect that things will look almost back to normal by the time PacPrint rolls around mid-year. 

“Regardless of restriction changes, however, the MCEC is now well-versed in providing a COVID-safe environment with contactless check in and payment systems across the venue, clear signage and floor decals, more than 100 sanitiser stations and plenty of COVID marshalls to enforce capacity limits and social distancing.”

“Other risk mitigation strategies include things like revised cleaning schedules and a new return-air HVAC system, which pushes 100% fresh air into an indoor space, lifting the air quality to essentially on par with outdoor spaces.”

With virtual and hybrid event elements also being facilitated, and the physical spaces within the MCEC complex being reimagined with greater access to outdoor areas and the new 2000m2 rooftop Skyfarm now available for event organisers, the future does indeed look bright.

“We have an excellent relationship with the team at the MCEC and are working closely with them, with our other partners, and with well over 60 exhibitors as we confidently prepare for the shows to open from June 28 – July 1, 2022,” Harris said.

The latest information, floor plans, exhibitor details and more will continue to be available on the PacPrint website,